Once again we gather together to enjoy The Wheel of Time and machinations upon our beloved heroes and our dastardly bad guys. This week, Musings on Fantasia is hosting, so make sure to stop by her place to enjoy more fun.
Chapters 18-23 were devoured this week and discussion questions follow below. Spoilers are having a full cook out below, complete with adult drinks. You have been warned.
1) Perrin and Co. are on their way. He thinks he’s headed to his death. What kind of reception do you think he’ll find in the Two Rivers? How long will he and Faile’s stubborn, silent treatment of one another last? (Bonus question: Moiraine made a brief reference to secrets Faile is keeping from Perrin. What do you think they might be?)
I expect that Perrin will both be slapped by a distraught parent and hugged and blubbered upon. He and the rest left Two Rivers abruptly without any word of when they would be back. I also expect that he will be forced to call in some local wolves and be forced to use his axe, and maybe his hammer, for defense. He may cry if he has to kill anyone.
How long will Faile and him remain in this pissing contest? Hmmm…..Until they grow up? Perhaps a decade?
I love speculating about Faile. Perhaps she is royalty. Maybe she is an assassin in training. Maybe her folks are traveling thieves and cut throats. Maybe she escaped from some religious sect. Ooooo! Her father is a White Cloak! Yes, I will go with that because it would cause some serious angst between her and Perrin.
2) What do you think of the Seafolk and their strange clothing customs? Were you surprised to find hidden Channelers among them?
Channelers seem to be every where, and I like this as it means the White Tower does not reign as supreme as they like to think. It also points out once again how the Aes Sedai have managed to ostracize themselves by looking down on and occasionally dissecting Channelers from other belief systems.
For the dress customs, I think equality is the way to go. Ladies should be able to remove their shirts same as men without reprisal (from women or men). And men, if you want to wear skirts, pantyhose, and makeup, knock yourself out. Everyone, the utility kilt is the sexiest fashion statement around.
3) Rand dealt, after a fashion, with the Tairen High Lords, extra export inventory, famines in other lands, Callandor, and a few other things all in one fell swoop. How do you think he did?
He was marvelous. He did far better than I thought he would, and I like how he set his main enemies against one another while still avoiding declaring war on another nation. Rand is turning into an interesting person in this book. Really stressed, a little dark, infinite power (at cost), moral but stuck in a tough situation, and heron scars.
4) Into the Waste. Do you think Rand was wise to use the Portal stones again? What are your first impressions of Rhuidean and the Aiel homeland?
Well, the plot dictates we use the Portal Stones sooner or later, so why not have Rand lead a group through them to Rhuidean? I liked Mat’s complaining and how the Aiel helped Rand pick the right symbol.
My first impressions of the Waste and the Aiel is a parallel to Frank Herbert’s Fremen from the Dune series. Tough in every sense of the word, definitely into water conservation, strong sense of superiority (based on ability). An Aiel will drive herself or himself harder than anyone else, being their own toughest critic.
5) Couladin sure seems to be looking for trouble. What kind of role do you foresee him having in the story?
Is this the dude that had his penis in a knot over allowing Rand & crew to Rhuidean? I’m listening to the book, so I don’t catch the spelling for all the side characters and locations. If that’s the guy, he is wanting to start some shit because obviously there isn’t enough shit running around loose on hoof or wing for him to mess with. I predict that he will raise just enough of a following to cause a minor challenge to Rand. Rand may have to kill him. I hope that happens in single combat and they both have to remove articles of clothing. Just like Paul Atreides in Dune and his hand-to-hand combat with an uppity Fremen that basically paved his acceptance into Fremen society.
6) The instant they hit the slopes above Rhuidean, there’s lots going on. Aviendha can channel, both Moiraine and Mat end up going to Rhuidean, and the Wise Ones accuse the Tower of coddling its trainees. What kind of learning experience do you think Egwene is in for in the Waste?
Egwene is going to get her ass kicked by the Aiel training. But I expect her stubborn streak will assert itself and she will end up greatly impressing the Wise Ones and will go on to complete her dream-walker training in record time. I mean this series is long, but not so long as to leave Egwene in the Waste for years.
Moiraine got to be in the dark a chunk of this section. She made several sour faces. I don’t think she likes being used, left in the dark, strung along, or controlled through lack of info anymore than anyone she has used the same tactics on.
So, why didn’t the men have to strip butt-naked to enter Rhuidean? I mean, I enjoy the view of athletic humans as I enjoy SFF paintings, so it’s cool that Aviendha and Moiraine have to go running through the desert nude. But, let’s just say it – Equality , folks, that is what I want. Even if Mat or Rand are hairy and pasty white, I still think they should have been required to enter Rhuidean nude too.